When K and I were backpacking in India we took these incredibly long bus trips.
On some days these endless, bumpy journeys were intolerable, but on others we found what we came to call “bus Zen.”
I remember one day in particular when we rode from Jodhpur to Pushkar (or was it Jaisalmer…)
Though the ride was more than twelve hours long, K and I spent the entire trip staring out the windows at the landscape of Rajasthan.
Camels draped in beautiful fabric, women in elaborate jewelry and men in colorful turbans brightened the desert landscape at every turn.
We were so content in our watching that we hardly spoke to each other that day. We just took it all in, silently, contentedly, happily.
Days when we achieved bus Zen were so much better than our weary, irritable travel days and somewhere along the way we figured out that the secret to finding peace with the ride ahead wasn’t random, but rather, it was a choice.
In retrospect, I’d say that achieving bus Zen was about eighty percent dependent upon our attitude.
On days when we woke up choosing to enjoy the jostling and the dust, we did.
Both K and I feel like we’ve been losing patience with the children much too often and we finally talked about it.
“Why are we in such a hurry?” we wondered.
“Why do we rush them along so much?”
K and I are both incredibly
anal task oriented, the type of people who live to cross things off of our “to do” lists.
In our mad rush to finish, we have lost our ability to enjoy the way.
K and I admitted that we have both been feeling flat and sort of … I don’t know… vaguely disinterested lately.
With one exception -- we don't feel / haven't felt disconnected from each other.
So we’ve got that going for us.
[Which is nice.]
Otherwise, with regard to our spiritual life, physical fitness, personal development, and professional development we’ve been all…
We’ve had bad attitudes.
Worse than that, we’ve been taking it out on The Mayor & The Rooster.
We made a pact with each other to try to slow down.
What does it matter if it takes forty minutes to choose a book or get ready for a walk?
We agreed that we would both try to be more patient and, in particular, stop re-acting to the toddler testing and tantrums.
We agreed that when The Mayor (or The Rooster) GO OFF (as they do) we would try to enforce all our regular consequences, but without “losing our cool.”
[Oh, how we have been losing our cool.]
There was something really powerful and cathartic in recognizing the way things have been going lately, acknowledging it, and talking though it together.
Miraculously, for the past few days, because we have chosen to, we’ve been more patient.
We let The Mayor and Rooster help us do all kinds of things even if that meant that the task at hand took twice or four times as long.
Were good as gold.
Why has it been so hard for me to understand this simple thing?
I promise I'm going to achieve Zen motherhood. I will, I will!
[Even if I have to ride the short bus to parenting class.]